Cupping 101

How do we develop the flavors of our coffees?
How are coffee flavors determined?

These are just some of the questions we'll answer here today.

Cupping steps to flavors:

Cupping is a process Klatch Coffee does to determine our coffee offerings and flavor notes for chosen coffees. Cupping is a coffee tasting with steeped coffee and a cupping spoon is used, ( deep convex spoon). We evaluate flavors through cupping by SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) standards, how ever at Klatch we adjust slightly. Our first reference for flavors comes from the SCA Flavor Wheel and when we need a flavor beyond SCA we use the Counter Culture Flavor Wheel.

When do we smell the coffee? Coffee has a different Aroma dry and wet. We smell coffee at all steps of cupping, first dry when ground before steeping. This can give you an idea of what the coffee can potentially taste like. Some coffees have a range of aromatic to bland aromas when dry grounds; when smelling hold cup and shake. We have two coffee cups per coffee from different roasts; we smell per coffee group.
Cupping steps:
Steeping the coffee grounds with water from 210℉ - 212℉ rolling boil, steep 4 mins the coffee blooms; we break crust and smell. The coffee grounds from the crust flowing are removed. At 16 minutes its drinkable temperature of 110℉, this taste is our initial hot flavors. We do a compared tasting of the two cups per coffee, then come back to the cups for a second tasting at 20 mins warm temp more than 90℉ for our second flavor of the flavor notes. Third flavor we taste is our cool flavor at 25 mins. You taste the changing flavors and smell the aromas each coffee has at different temps.

How do we come up with flavors?

Multiple cuppings to taste the coffee are done before choosing a new offering coffee, the flavor wheel. Klatch uses the SCA Flavor wheel and Counter Culture Flavor Wheel to expand on flavor notes. Flavor influences of fruits, vegetables, spices, floral, nuts, sours and roasts they usually differ per by country and varietal. The acidity plays a factor in flavors of orange, citrus, and stone-fruits like apricot. Such as Ethiopian washed process vs. natural process of herbal, stone-fruits vs. berry
and intense fruit bowl.

Cupping and Roasting at Peak of Flavor: Profile Roasting on Probat Roaster and Ikawa Pro Roaster

Klatch Sample roasts to the peak of flavor, these are profiles that Mike has honed over 25 years. We use both the Probat Roaster and Ikawa Pro Roaster. Starting out with a set parameter (base) of roasting per varietal/origin that is equally compared to helps with the consistency of Klatch Coffee. This helps with our Production of coffee. We want the most caramelize, develop the bean for full sweetness-fruit, acidity. What works for use doesn't work for everyone. We will do multiple sample roasts to adjust by improving the sweetness and the profile curve to create caramelization, this is an experiment, trial and error. The multiple cuppings of the same coffee bean can be extremely different.
Once we have a base, we tweak and how you want your graph to show the roast you want.

a. Flavor

b. Development time

c. Temperature

d. Weight loss

How does the variety influence the flavor?

Klatch Coffee holds high standards for our specialty coffee, the flavors vary, with quality of coffee per varietal. The arabica is self-fertile, and therefore can be self-pollinated; these species typically have lower caffeine. Most of the varieties we carry are cultivar: produced by horticultural or agricultural techniques and not normally found in natural populations; a cultivated variety. Bourbon and Typica are some of the most widely known cultivars, The Pacamara variety is a hybrid cross between the Pacas (from El Salvador and named after the Pacas Family) and the giant elephant bean varietal Maragogipe. Its larger than normal appearance is the reason farmers from Las Mercedes call it "The King Bean" of Central America.. Las Mercedes uses fermentation for up to 36 hours in traditional tanks add a smooth body and balanced cup. While still some herbal notes expressed as coriander, this is a cleaner and sweeter Pacamara. More sweet than savory. Up front the orange acidity is balanced with chocolate and the body finishes with a smooth sweet almond flavor; (washed process).

How to pin-point on the flavor wheel?

Flavor notes will change per year, with the age of the coffee before and after roast as well as crop/lot. By cupping multiple times we pin-point the flavors for new offerings and crops. We have trained our palate to be divers in evaluating our coffees, try identifying flavor notes on the wheel with raw, cooked food, spices; these little nuances map the coffee flavor notes. Our coffee doesn't have add flavor, we recommend drinking black to have the full experience.

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